Q. How do you identify yourself?
Lesbian, Butch- a soft one. Eeps! Weird but I love calling myself a lesbian moreover a Butch.
Q. When did you first start to define your identity as such?
I knew I had feelings for the same sex from a very early age, but I came out to myself at the age of 17, almost 3 years ago.
Q. How did you come to terms with your sexuality?
It was pretty difficult for me to come out to myself, because I was a big Homophobe. At first, when I started to develop these feelings for a Girl, I hated myself. I hated the concept of being with same sex and I was dating a guy for almost 3 years. I tried being foolish too. Suicide- thought about it and almost tried too. I fought with everybody, my friends, cousins especially Mom who always knew I had these tendencies. Strangely everybody else around me was okay with me being Homosexual but I wasn’t. I stopped talking to my best friend because she called me a lesbian when she tried to help me come out of the closet. I was all paranoid about my feelings until, I realised that dating this guy was not more than being the “most popular kid”. There were no emotions involved and his presence didn’t really matter. Then for 2 years I fought with these feelings and then I learnt to accept it. Now I’m Lesbian- Out and proud.
Q. Have you experienced homophobia? If yes, how did you deal with it?
On that front I have been pretty lucky at work, friends, college etc. Everybody has been pretty possessive about me and love and appreciate me the way I am. Yes, my father is not okay with it, but I won’t call him a homophobe because he hasn’t stopped loving me and showing me that he cares. But he kicking me out of the house when I came out was a big drawback. Four months of being homeless taught me a lot. So I RESPECT him.
I do experience unusual embarrassing moments with people asking me “Madam aap ladka ho ya ladki?” and my bai asking me “Toh aapko ladkiya pasand hai?” and then adding, “Madam ek baat bolu, aap waise bhi bahut handsome dikhte ho!” after she hears my answer and my masi convincing me to go consult a doctor and not be around the community. Except for these experiences, nothing homophobic at all.
Q. When did you first out yourself?
In the First year of my Junior College, I accidently kissed my best friend one night, who apparently was my cousin. Next morning was a day with a big regret and realisation. Though both of us now talk regularly we never talk about that night. For us it just didn’t happen EVER.
Q. How did it play out later?
The day after the afore-mentioned incident I was to leave back for home (Bombay) and we both were silent in the car. Before leaving, I just texted my cousin saying “I’m sorry, I regret” and all she replied was “I’m glad I helped you open up and reach out to your voice, though it was a little uncalled for. I forgive you. Just a favour – never remind me of this ever again”.
And there I was happy, open, out to myself. That sunrise actually was like I’m born again.
Q. Who did you come out to & why did you come out to that person?
After the incident, for a while I didn’t talk to anybody. My senior from my cricket team was the person I came out to. I fell for this senior’s friend who apparently turned out be a Lesbian too. Right now she is dating her girlfriend for past 5+ years.
Q. How did that person react?
She hugged me and said welcome to the club and made me a fake Orkut + Facebook ID. She gave me all the gyan about classifying a lesbian relationship and how two lesbians have sex and other things.
Q. Did your coming out change anything about your relationship with them?
Yeah! We became best of friends and are like the two sides of the same coin. The girl I’m in love with is her Best friend. Sometimes, we fight, we stop talking, we delete each other from our all our profiles but “We are still Friends”.
Q. Have you ever been outed without your consent? If yes, how did you deal with it?
My ex girlfriend who was apparently straight and was always discreet about our relationship always introduced me to her friends/family as her “Gay Best Friend”. At first I was pretty cool about it but after a certain point it was one of the major reasons for our break up.
Q. How did the people you were outed to deal with it?
Sometimes it was hard sometimes it was smooth. It really didn’t matter to me much, as my funda was clear. I decided not to give a damn about people who don’t accept me as I am. This is one of the major reasons I don’t talk to my father anymore.
Q. Do you think being gaysi makes it harder to come out and that if you weren’t part of such a traditional & conservative culture you would have an easier time with your sexuality/identity?
Who said, people outside India don’t face problems after coming out? Well I would agree compared to the West it’s difficult here. But then, it always depends on how you deal with it and how you face it. If you are comfortable living in the closet and going through the same amount of different shit why not come out and face the real thing?
Q. You are extremely passionate about photography. Tell us more about it.
Photography has been a part of me since I was seven. My father got my one of those Black Kodak cameras on my birthday and he developed every thing I clicked, which helped me grow more. I started working as a professional photographer with a Digital cam when I was 14. I freelanced for mom’s events, worked in college magazines, participated in various festivals and won many prizes. After I got my first Professional camera I got my first big break with leading newspapers and then Channels.
Q. You have also made fantastic videos using photographs from QAM 2012. How did this come about?
Well one fine day after QAM, I was all nostalgic about it and was going through the pictures. I thought I would do something about it and made a video just to remind everybody that we are going to miss a big part of our life until the next QAM.
Q. Would you recommend that people stay in the closet or come out?
Come out, obviously! Be out and proud- it means more self-respect and more self-esteem. Isn’t closet a very horrific and suffocating place? It’s better to come out and breathe free.
Q. One Bollywood actor/actress you would love to shoot?
I had always wanted to shoot Jacky Fernandes. When I shot her last year it was as good as getting a great orgasm.
Q. According to you who’s the most photogenic Indian personality (Queer/non Queer)?
Anushka Sharma and Deepika Padukone-Would die to click them.
Q. Your favourite queer-themed movie?
I loved “Loving Anebelle” quite a lot.